M.A.P. – Best Music From Around The World For The Month Of December

December 16th, 2011

A day late and a Krona short but here is the best music from around the world for the month of December.

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a .zip file of the whole 36-track compilation via MediaFire.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
The Empire Of The MoonTransition
The Empire Of The Moon is the new project of Juan Sábato, a former member of Brian Storming, a band that was featured in the first edition of MAP (and, by the way, the grandson of writer Ernesto Sábato). Transition is the first single from The Empire Of The Moon’s just-released debut EP, Saturday Children, for which he wrote all the music, lyrics and beautiful pop arrangements.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Tim FitzThe Line
Tim Fitz is a 21-year-old producer/instrumentalist/singer from Sydney. He put out his first EP, Infinite Space, in March but his latest release, Beforetime, is definitely a rich picking. Some might hear genre spanning and others will hear indecisiveness, but there’s a great feel to this collection of tracks. The Line is a good example of Fitz’s kaleido-instrumentals. Just as the flouncy percussion gets into the proper swing of things, we get bombarded by drive-high fuzz around the one-minute mark. Fitz’s sound is original, but the way he has put his sounds together is still familiar enough to catch on to.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Nana RizinniNice Figure, Dangerous Heart
It’s almost 2012, but listening to this song from singer/drummer Nana Rizinni can take you back to the 90s with an awesome “sounds like The Breeders feeling”. Nice Figure, Dangerous Heart is from her first album, I Said, which is available to download from her website.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
FeversPassion Is Dead (Long Live Fashion)
Fevers’ debut full-length (which is currently free via Bandcamp) is a wonderful blend of disco-pop and ambient Stars/Young Galaxy-style space-rock. This song, the title track from the album, falls firmly into the former category. It’s five and a half minutes of a glorious, life-affirming, wave-your-arms-in-the-air anthem, and it sets the stage for one of the best albums of the year.

CHILE: Super 45
Tio LuchoIlusión Rebelde
Even though Tio Lucho had an aggressive, non-conformist punk sound when they started, it has developed into a more danceable and, clearly, more passive format. Produced by Chalo González, their new album Innombrable, released through Cazador, has a strong new wave influence. Ilusión Rebelde is its first single.

CHINA: Wooozy
Mini Train HeartJust This Feeling
Formed in 2009, Mini Train Heart is a peculiar band based in Wuhan. The band is noted for their unpredictable drumbeats and manic vocals. Also, you can’t easily tell who their influences are. We recommend you just drown in the lo-fi atmosphere and enjoy their uniquely dry humor in how they see this generation.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
AnchorlessA Step Too Steep
Comprising members of bands such as Lack, The River Phoenix and The Fashion, indie-rock six-piece Anchorless are currently finishing their debut album, which I assume will be released early-ish next year. Until then dive in, dig and download A Step Too Steep from their six-song eponymous 2010 debut EP, which you can in fact download in full through this link.

ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Citizens!True Romance (Populette remix)
This is an exclusive remix of the debut single, True Romance, by a London-based five-piece who have just signed to French electronic/indie label Kitsuné. Their debut album, due early next year, has been produced by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. The video to the single was directed by LA’s High5Collective, the team behind shorts for The Weeknd and Odd Future. And they believe that “pop is not a dirty word. It’s a holy one”. For Citizens!, pop is something David Bowie did in the 70s – they conflate glam-era Bowie and Bowie in Berlin with some of the tart arrogance of Suede and louche energy of Franz.

ESTONIA: Popop
Shelton SanWell-Behaved
Noise-rock band Shelton San started rocking the small Estonian indie scene in 2002 and, almost 10 years later, they are stronger than ever, creating massive, raw, hypnotic atmospheres, always polished, but never sterile. In 2006, they received the Estonian Music Award for the best punk/metal artist. Shelton San’s second LP was released on December 12.

FINLAND: Glue
Zebra And SnakeBurden
Matti and Tapio, best known as Zebra And Snake, positioned themselves as the next big thing in Finnish electro-pop in 2010 and since then, the duo has been carefully crafting their debut album while playing anywhere from Iceland to Indonesia. Burden, the first single off Healing Music (out in spring 2012), is an epic pop song with a Blood On The Dance Floor beat, analogue electronic hooks and powerful Bowie-esque vocals.

FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
MaraudersGalley-Slave
Marauders formed in the late 80s in Strasbourg, and have been making garage rock ever since, before it was cool and re-popularized by The Black Keys. The quartet, who have released two LPs and appeared in various compilations, play short, edgy songs and are pretty awesome live. Galley-Slave is a sweet, soft-rock ballad that deserves some attention.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
Kraków Loves AdanaSilver Screen
The Black Forest, a myth. Since Kraków Loves Adana come from Freiburg, we can all speculate whether the forest has its influence or not. Hence, the sound of this duo is outstanding. The voice of Deniz Cicek is remarkably dark and complex, the use of the instruments is deliberate, creating deep and slightly ominous songs. Silver Screen is a MAP exclusive from their upcoming second album, which will be released in early 2012.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
2L8Let It Go
A collective led by K the Clown and comprised of talented Greek musicians, 2L8 is a bold and electrifying project that has come to be categorized by their radical stylistic shifts between albums. New Battles, Without Honor And Humanity is packed with feverous instrumental intensity and florid arrangements based on bursting guitars, pounding drums, subtle and luminous climaxes, dramatic strings and brass, hypnotically simple melodies, inner monologues and trembling, frantically passionate vocals, desperate and bleak lyrics about resistance, equity, freedom, love and equality coupled with a sense of hope.

ICELAND: Rjóminn
Low RoarFriends Make Garbage, Good Friends Take It Out
Low Roar is the personal project of Ryan Karazija who, almost two years ago, moved from San Francisco to Reykjavík to follow the love of his life. His self-titled debut chronicles the challenges of starting anew in a foreign land and the struggles to acclimatize, find work and support his family in the Icelandic winter. Friends Make Garbage, Good Friends Take It Out, one of the highlights of the album, is a haunting, emotive and slightly melancholic song with a melody that will undoubtedly keep playing in your head long after the song is over.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
Stars And RabbitWorth It
Stars And Rabbit are probably one of this country’s most promising indie acts. The duo mix some soul from Joan Baez, the cuteness of Lisa Mitchell and the playful touch of Björk to produce catchy, beautiful pop songs.

IRELAND: Nialler9
Come On Live LongElephants And Time
Formed last year, Come On Live Long have picked up a steady pace in no time as evident on the release of their latest EP entitled Mender. They make far-reaching alternative songs with considerable melodies, synths and a strong singular sound. Production by Nouveaunoise electronic maestro Conor Gaffney helps too. Ones to watch.

ITALY: Polaroid
DistantiAstronomie
Distanti sing in Italian, but even if you don’t speak our old and praiseworthy language, I’m sure you’ll understand – in fact, you will totally feel the way Distanti tear up their post-punk sound. Visceral. Urgent. Clever. They just released a new EP, Mamba Nero, which you can get at To Lose La Track. And try to catch Distanti live, they’re amazing.

JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Love And HatesParty Trash
Love And Hates is a collaboration between Yuppa and Moe, two of the best indie artists in Japan today, from HNC and Miila And The Geeks respectively. Love And Hates finds them teaming up to make rap music with indie-pop touches, or kindergarten hip-hop as they dubbed it. Party Trash, with its cutesy chopped-and-screwed intro and solid structure, is not a lame dorm-room joke but rather a fun, appreciative stab at the genre. UGK they are not, but they still feel like a blast.

MALTA: Stagedive Malta
nosnow/noalpsFar Into The Night (Without You)
nosnow/noalps began its journey over mountainous terrain in early 2007 with their poppy indie-rock seasoned with punk, reggae and ska. Soon after, the quartet hit the live circuit with an energy and force comparable to an avalanche at a Swiss ski resort. The band’s first EP, Just Rock, came out in 2008 and they released their debut album, Romantikpolitik, this August.

MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
3Ball MTYRitmo Alterado
The city of Monterrey, in northern Mexico, is struggling in a war against drug-mafias: despite the violent context, a new musical genre is rising thanks to 3Ball MTY. Led by veteran electro-cumbia DJ Toy Selectah and a crew of skillful producers in their early 20s, the collective have created a new sound by merging polka, reggaeton and acid-tribal-techno. But the most peculiar thing about this trend is the style of dancing – like dodging bullets – while wearing ultra-long pointy boots. Curious? Just google ‘Pointy Mexican Boots’.

NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
SpoelstraPallets
An alternative to the schmaltz of typical Christmas sounds, enjoy a dose of Spoelstra. He’s a collaborator with Dutch experimental label Narrominded, which specialises in all sorts of fantastic non-profitable sounds, from full-on noise rock to electronic warbles. And Spoelstra is a perfect fit, as he’s proven capable of both. His latest album Pallets was released earlier in the year. Packaged as a cassette and a book about everything you can imagine about pallets, it showcases a full rack of effects and a wonky mind. Part chip tune, part drunken country improv, part toy noise, this uneasiness is how Santa feels come Boxing Day.

NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
The EversonsI’m A Conservative
Fronted by Mark Turner (ex-Little Pictures) and with Chris Young (Insurgents, No Aloha), Tim Shann and Blair Everson, The Eversons have a crisp, clear garage-rock vibe that strongly recalls Art Brut and American college rock with its undeniable catchiness and the immediate satisfaction this brings. With classic guitar riffs and day-in-the-life-style lyrics, their debut five-song EP is instantly likeable. This is one of those bands that doesn’t muck around, delivering a top-class release very early in their career, which makes us excited about future things to come from them.

NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
SunturnsHallelujah (Christmas Is Here!)
Sunturns can perhaps be labeled an indie supergroup – or not just an indie super group, but a Christmas indie supergroup. It’s something as rare as a full-time Christmas band and is comprised of some of the best musicians from the Oslo indie scene, with members from bands such as mylittlepony, Monzano and The Little Hands of Asphalt. They sing about both the nice and the more melancholic sides of Christmas. Their debut album, cleverly titled Christmas, is out now.

PERU: SoTB
Gris VoltaYou Go Behind The Truth
Formed at the beginning of 2008, Gris Volta have too many influences to place the band into one genre – you can find anything from indie-rock to jazz themes and experimental music in their songs. Their debut record Monochrome is without doubt one of the best Peruvian albums released this year.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Julie & The CarjackersMr Williams
One year ago, Julie & The Carjackers released their debut EP. Now the first album by João Correia (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Bruno Pernadas (guitar), with the help of some friends (none of them called Julie), is available. Parasol has been warmly welcomed by Portuguese press and blogs as a surprising and refreshing debut in the local indie scene.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
AbsurdcusPuppy Slippers
Absurdcus is the solo project of Transylvanian bass player/multi-instrumentalist Laszlo Demeter. His music has been a continuous work in progress since 2003, when he first started recording bits and pieces under this pseudonym. His music stylistically ranges from alternative rock and funk to electronica and even metal. You can download his debut album here.

RUSSIA: Big Echo
ArktorPier ft. Didjelirium
Just like the original story by Philip K. Dick, Arktor’s album Retreat Syndrome recreates the atmosphere of madness and insanity, combining truth and despair with the skills of his mate, jazz pianist Ilz. Pier is recorded with a special guest, Shanghai rapper Didjelirium.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Café DiscoTerra Nova
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Terra Nova by Glasgow-based newcomers Café Disco. It was on a shaky YouTube clip filmed in June 2011 during one of the band’s earliest gigs. “Contains the peachiest guitar riff I’ve heard in ages” is how I described the song on my blog back then – and that verdict hasn’t changed with this studio recording, which was funded by The Pop Cop for the sole purpose of giving it away through the Music Alliance Pact, together with this rather fun promo video.

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
SonicbratBed Of Forty Winks
Sonicbrat is the enduring moniker of sound artist Darren Ng, whose work is characterised by an intricate tapestry of field recordings and found sounds, strung together by subtly processed acoustic instrumentation with a classical bent. Gentle, stirring and complex, Ng’s music is the sort that invites itself into and comfortably inhabits one’s imagination. His latest release, Hana, is his musing on the life of a flowering plant and is available as a free download on the Totokoko label.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
The FrownThe National (Yesterday’s Pupil remix)
The Frown makes a curious mixture of folk and electronica. With their song The National, Yesterday’s Pupil’s remix adds a special touch to it, with a heady mix of soaring strings and orchestration, low tempo colliding beats, dark and menacing basslines and the fragile yet commanding vocals of Eve Rakow. Ethereal and enigmatic, it’s one of the year’s most exciting songs.

SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Kim Mok InScene
Kim Mok In started out as the guitarist of playful lo-fi folk quartet Cabinet Singalongs over a decade ago. This month he released his first solo album, Song Of Musician’s-self, with an updated sound and better production that still shouldn’t leave any old fan disappointed. Scene is a song about the Korean music scene which finds Kim Mok In’s voice and guitar accompanied by a sturdy piano.

SPAIN: Musikorner
Doble PletinaCruzo Los Dedos
Doble Pletina, a five-piece from Barcelona, were born from the ashes of Abrevadero (a one-of-a-kind cover band that would play songs of almost any genre). Thanks to their simple yet carefully crafted melodies and everyday life-inspired emotional lyrics – as in their latest single Cruzo Los Dedos – they have broken into the city’s local independent scene. They are, basically, what we would expect from a good indie-pop band.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Let’s Say We DidGalaxies
If your idea of Swedish music is something exotic like Lykki Li, First Aid Kit, Little Dragon and/or Jens Lekman, the music of Let’s Say We Did might surprise you. On the whole, the new record hews closer to Big Star meets Wilco dad-rock than the drum and bass electronica music coming out of Sweden of late. Sebastian Fors is one of the main men behind the band. He has been contributing to the Swedish music scene for a few years in multiple projects. Let’s Say We Did’s new self-titled album, though, is some of the best stuff I’ve heard from him.

SWITZERLAND: 78s
Alejandro JiménezDie Fragestellung In Frage Stellen
Alejandro Jiménez is actually more poetry slam than singer-songwriting. He also had the honour of playing in the most famous theater in Switzerland for cabaret artists. On his second record, Nabelschau, he recorded 11 songs which have one thing in common: they’re raw and personal.

TURKEY: WEARTBEAT
Toz Ve TozKara Mamba
Founded in November 2007, Toz Ve Toz make experimental songs that combine elements of jazz, surf, punk and Turkish classical music. The trio use guitar, synthesizer, drums, harmonica and bağlama – a Turkish instrument with three double strings. They have released two albums – the first featured music for a theatre play called Sahici İnsanlar Plastik Ölümler (“Real People Plastic Deaths”) in 2009; the second is a home recording called Ev/Home. Their third album will be released from their own record label soon.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
GracieSisters
Philadelphia’s Gracie is an intriguing project to say the least. There is bedroom pop and garage rock, but the vibes coming from Gracie match more of a bomb shelter banger sound. Haunting, effervescent, glitchy, mesmerizing echoes, and driving beats that propel your ears forward straight through tangles of sonic cobwebs. Can’t wait to snag this unique release via Small Plates soon.

Swedesplease Christmas Mix (The Hives, Sally Shapiro, Hello Saferide, et al)

December 6th, 2011

**12/20/2011 Update**

The grandfathers of Swedish indie pop have released a Christmas-y song called “(I’m In) A Chorus Line”. Not sure who the guest vocalist is but she has a lovely voice.

(I’m In) A Chorus Line

**12/14/2011 Update**

Here’s another nice version of “Last Christmas. This time by Natalie Sandin, a singer-songwriter who is starting to lean electro/synthy.

Last Christmas

**12/6/2011 Update**

So I wasn’t sure if I was going to repost this Swedish Christmas mix this year. I hadn’t come across any songs I wanted to add to the list. `Til today. And this gorgeous synthy xmas song from Slottet. Lots more info at the wonderful English label Fika Recordings. I’ll update this when something worthwhile comes along.

A Cold Christmas

P.S. If you are really hard up for more Christmas music you can check out the roots leaning Christmas sampler over at my other site Songs:Illinois.

12/13/10 and a half UPDATE

Oh Snap! I just found this song from Parker Lewis singing “All Alone On Christmas” via the Italian blog Polaroid. I guess it was recorded for this blog. I love Parker Lewis and this whole mix is outstanding. Click here to get the whole Christmas-y compilation (also features Shout Out Louds).

All Alone On Christmas (via Polaroid blog)

12/13/10 UPDATE This Christmas song was originally meant for friends of Linnea and Joel formerly of Tupelo Honeys. It was released to friends in 2007. Now Tupelo Honeys has morphed into the Swedish band The Forest and The Trees and they’ve decided to release this song for everyone.

Santa Claus Is Coming

12/07/10 UPDATE

The guys at Art Acoustic sent me their little original electronic Christmas song, “Christmas In The Woods”; it’s a great addition to the mix. Thanks guys.

Christmas In The Woods

12/01/10 UPDATE

The Swedish band Holmes originally released this song in 2007 as a sort of Christmas card in audio format to friends and family. This season it’s getting a wider release thanks to the band and Bandcamp (where it can be downloaded for free).

There’ll Be No Christmas Without You

11/30/10 UPDATE

I should have had these three songs in the mix long before this but I’m just getting organized. If you have any other songs you think are missing email them to me at cbonnell (@) gmail.com.

Soon After Christmas – Stina Nordenstam
Auld Lang Syne – El Perro Del Mar
Christmas – Acid House Kings

11/28/10 UPDATE

Bossa nova beats, chill vocals, and a summertime Christmas theme. Perfect for our first update to this years xmas mix. The Ocean Tango is a collaboration between “French pop craftsman Louis Philippe and Swedish art-pop conceptualists Testbild!”

Christmas in July – The Ocean Tango

—–

Snow Angel – Kate And After

It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) – Lisa Millberg

Christmas In July – Ossian Ekenger

All I Want For Christmas – The Genuine Fakes

A Chistmas Duel – The Hives Vs. Cyndi Lauper

Carol for The Lonely – Sofia Talvik

Anorak Christmas – Sally Shapiro

X-mas Carol NYC – Parker Lewis

Oh What A Christmas – El Perro Del Mar

Oh Sweet Christmas! – Oh Sweet Music!

I-Pod Xmas – Hello Saferide

Christmas On The Beach – Irene

Holy Night – Thomas Denver Johnsson

All These Winter Nights – Higher Elevations

Christmas Peace – Shade Tree

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bobby Baby

This Christmas (If You Come Back) – The Carny

A Blue Christmas – The Perishers

Bon Jovis Jollat – Montt Mardie

Christmas Reindeer – The Knife

Last Christmas – Le Sport, Montt Mardie, Mr Suitcase

Christmas Day – Strayfolk

Poetry for the Winter – Komon (hopped up twee on adrenline)

Jingle Jangle Christmas – Metro Jets

Snodde Julen I Är – Ish (Sophie Rimheden and CK)

Run Away With Me – Jens Lekman

It’s Christmas But Not For You – TIAC

Christmas On The Dancefloor – Sophia and Sophia (Rimheden & Talvik)

“Psychic Secret” by Seabisquit

December 1st, 2011

Here’s a digital single released by the label The Snake by the band Seabisquit. The song is called “Psychic Secret”. They’re calling it lofi folk trip hop. It’s a little messed up but I like that about the song.

Psychic Secret

Sebastian Fors and the band Let’s Say We Did back with self-titled debut LP

November 29th, 2011

If your idea of Swedish music is something exotic like Lykki Li, First Aid Kit, Little Dragon, and/or Jens Lekman the music of Let’s Say We Did might surprise you. On the whole the new record hews closer to Big Star meets Wilco dad rock than the drum and bass electronica music coming out of Sweden of late.

Sebastian Fors is one of the main men behind the band. He has been contributing to the Swedish music scene for a few years now in multiple projects and appearing with many different bands. The new self-titled records though is some of the best stuff I’ve heard from him. Here’s the song “Galaxies”. You can buy the new record here.

Galaxies

New EP “Weeks” from Pal (lofi electronic pop from Malmö)

November 28th, 2011

Pal is Albin Johansson from Mälmo. And his new EP Weeks is one of the better things I’ve heard in a while. On the whole it’s a mellow, dreamy lofi electronic pop. The release date is Dec. 7 but you can buy it now on Bandcamp here.

Gone

PS You’ve got about a week or two to order your Swedesplease t-shirt so that I can ship it to you by Christmas. It makes a great and unique present for the Swedeophile in your life.

New album from Gothenburg’s Klifton Filente – “Breaking the Clouds”

November 22nd, 2011

I believe I’m the worldwide expert on Klifton Filente (posts here and here). With that said I really know very little about him. The band is really just Jonas Lundvall from Gothenburg. In the past I have compared his sound to that of Paul Simon or Nick Drake, this new record is a little more layered so maybe think the English band Felt.

You can purchase Breaking the Clouds here via Bandcamp.

Foremost Of The Westerners

November MAP

November 15th, 2011

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a .zip file of the whole 35-track compilation via MediaFire.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
FútbolEl Asedio De River
El Eternauta is an amazing science fiction comic created by Argentine comic strip writer Héctor Germán Oesterheld with artwork by Francisco Solano López. It was first published from 1957 to 1959. Los Ellos is a tribute compilation to this work and its author, one of 30,000 people who disappeared during the dictatorship that ruled the country between 1976 and 1983. The album contains 18 original tracks written by independent bands from La Plata and Buenos Aires. El Asedio De River is one of them, an instrumental track from alternative rock trio Fútbol.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
FeathersCat Burgler
Cat Burgler is a sweet new jam from Brisbane’s Feathers, taken from their forthcoming 12″ Hunter’s Moon, out through Bon Voyage. The song showcases this all-female four-piece’s ability to intertwine whimsy and hooks into irresistible tunes suited for both Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
KassinCalça De Ginástica
Kassin is a producer who has worked with some of the most creative artists in Brazilian contemporary music. He has also played in some bands and projects and this year he released his first solo album, from which Calça De Ginástica is taken. The electronic pop is combined with funny lyrics in which a man tells of his desires with a girl he knows (such as having sex with her in a paraplegic’s bathroom while wearing his gym clothes).

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
First Rate PeopleSomeone Else Can Make A Work Of Art
Someone Else Can Make A Work Of Art is a dance song, but only in the way that, say, All My Friends is a dance song. It’s got incredibly catchy beats and a wonderful vocal performance, but it’s held together by a genuine emotional core. It, and the album it comes from, are currently free for download from Bandcamp, so there’s really no reason not to go get it right now.

CHILE: Super 45
Fernando MilagrosCarnaval (feat. Christina Rosenvinge)
San Sebastián, the third album from singer-songwriter Fernando Milagros, is, in simple terms, a masterpiece. Although in his early days as a musician Milagros pointed towards a more contemplative kind of folk (a big reference here would be Nick Drake or the calmer moments of Devendra Banhart), in his newest album he explores South American music, creating denser pieces, darker yet more powerful. Carnaval, the first single from the album, features guest Spanish musician Christina Rosenvinge.

CHINA: Wooozy
Tong DangDon’t Let Me Cry
Tong Dang formed in 2001 in Chengdu. Their name is derived from the Chinese word meaning “Young Gang”. They started off as a melodic nu-metal band and gradually added elements of pop-punk and emo. Tong Dang are known for their explosive performances which features catchy hooks and melodies. Don’t Let Me Cry is taken from their album Far Away, released in 2007.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Echo MeDarkest Hour
It’s alternative pop-rock with a folksy touch. It’s Echo Me aka Jesper Madsen. It’s an eponymous debut album. And it’s great.

ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
WooWoosFizzy Lettuce
WooWoos are Nicky, Tasie and Jess, three London girls shaping up to be the new Sugababes – only the Sugababes when they were good, when Keisha, Mutya and Siobhan were in the group, not the three ciphers they’ve got in now. They’re funny, they’re sassy, and their debut single, Fizzy Lettuce, is 90s trip-hop revisited with a solid chorus that suggests there in a substantial musical base below the fizz and pop. We still don’t know what is a Woo Woo, or indeed what is fizzy lettuce, but at least they’re getting us thinking, these sugar-babes with subversive intent.

ESTONIA: Popop
Ewert And The Two DragonsJolene
Ewert And The Two Dragons, consisting of Evert Sundja, Erki Pärnoja, Ivo Etti and Kristjan Kallas, sky-rocketed into the Estonian music scene in autumn 2009 with their debut album The Hills Behind The Hills. 2010 was a busy year for the Dragons: they performed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, including noted festivals such as Tallinn Music Week and Positivus. Their smooth sounds and melodies have been praised both at home and abroad. Their second album, Good Man Down, came out in April and has enjoyed tremendous success.

FINLAND: Glue
The SaturnettesGirl Name Sue
The Saturnettes, from Tampere, blend in a refreshing way the 70s glam rock sounds of David Bowie and T. Rex with a touch of new wave and synth-pop. Girl Named Sue is the very catchy first single off their debut album.

FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
1995La Source
Ask someone from France if they like French rap and they will most likely answer ‘no’, but ask if they likes old-school rap and the answer is most likely to be ‘yes’. And that’s what this month’s band is all about: old-school rap, with modern lyrics. 1995 (or “un-double-neuf-cinq”/”un-neuf-neuf-cinq”) is a young rap collective (five MCs, one DJ) hailing from Paris who released an extraordinary, well-received EP, La Source, last June. The EP is a work of art for people disappointed and bored by gangsta-like music, and is almost a miracle for the purists as well, thanks to the return to basics, the flow and the instrumentals. You can buy La Source on Amazon or iTunes.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
Jolly GoodsIf I Were A Woman
When you listen to Jolly Goods’ second album Walrus, released recently on Staatsakt, you should be prepared for some serious disarray. Their songs, especially their lyrics, bear testament to a deep doubt in the world as it appears to these two sisters; they capture emotions like anger, trepidation and a little bit of hope in an extraordinary way.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
Sugar Factory440
Sugar Factory have unleashed their luminous, lilting, lovely debut single, the double A-side 440 / Explosions. It’s an insular instrumental experience, casting intrigue in the minute details, an immersive and inevitably cinematic gem rich in fuzzy memories, nostalgia, melody and atmosphere, with woozy accordion that accentuates the underlying emotions, guitars and samples with an otherworldly quality that lingers with you. Listen to 440, a perfect mood piece as the night begins to draw in.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
Polka WarsHorse Hooves
Horse Hooves is an echoey, spacey song made by a collective of young boys influenced by the current fuzzed and mopey music scene. You’ll love their simple interpretation of what we call humble music.

IRELAND: Nialler9
We Cut CornersGo Easy
Go Easy is a fine example of what to expect from Today I Realised I Could Go Backwards, the debut album from Dublin duo We Cut Corners. Restricting themselves to drums, guitar and voice doesn’t hamper John Duignan and Conall O’Breachain in the construction of their direct songs. Rather, they find new ways to create unique songs from a limited palette. They might Go Easy but they will go far.

ITALY: Polaroid
Horrible PresentCloudy Talks
Nicola Donà used to sing in the band Calorifero, now he lives in London and writes music under the moniker Horrible Present. His new songs are more lo-fi, bedroom pop-oriented, ranging from synth-driven experimental tunes to romantic acoustic guitar ballads, but always with a big shining love for melodies. And the love is returned. Expect a debut album in early 2012.

JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Avec AvecKuzuha No Sunday
Avec Avec is one of the most promising young artists to emerge in a burgeoning electronic scene based in the Kansai region. Kuzuha No Sunday stands as one of the best tracks from this fledgling movement, a stuttering beat-driven song reminiscent of Bibio or Cornelius that sounds like a perfect sunny Sunday. The sweetest part comes via that glitchy vocal sample, one of the most joyous sounds to come out of Japan this year.

MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Cable 35Cow Head
Formed in 2006, Cable 35 have become known for their highly energetic performances and are arguably Malta’s tightest band. The three-piece is made up of singer and guitarist Jeffrey Zerafa, bassist Kriz Zahra and drummer Chris Mallia. Following a couple of EPs, the band released their aptly-titled debut album Louder three months ago and are currently touring Europe to promote it. Louder brings back Bleach-era Nirvana to your ears.

MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Antoine ReverbYou As A Fish
The tradition states that Guadalajara is the quintessential land for Machos and Mariachi in Mexico. But Antoine Reverb (actually a quintet, not a person) doesn’t belong to their time and place. On their splendid second album Everything Is A Foreign Language To Me, the band sets their inner clocks backwards on a swirly Victorian time-travel in a quest to reach the land of the Pet Sounds, rabbit-holing on a twee-gaze mood (reminiscent of Broadcast in the 90s), finally sliding on a spiral that leads to confusing atmospheres that resemble the soundtrack for the Czech vampire film Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders. Antoine Reverb are not only strangers in their own land, but in their own dreams.

NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Moon & SunHunt (Gavin Russom remix)
Although based in Amsterdam, Moon & Sun is very much an international concept. At its core is artist/musician Monica Tormell, who’s originally from Sweden but who wrote and recorded her debut album, The Wild Things, in Curaçao, the Swedish woods and also back in Amsterdam. That original collection emerged last November, offering bouts of atmospheric and tribal folk. One year on, a number of its tracks have been reworked by a host of international collaborators. This remix by DFA artist and LCD Soundsystem collaborator Gavin Russom draws on the heavily percussive elements to create electronic patterns reminiscent of Swedish peers The Knife and jj.

NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Fabulous/ArabiaThe Ballad Of State Highway 1
James Milne (Lawrence Arabia) and Mike Fabulous (The Black Seeds) unveiled their collaboration last month and surprised many fans by presenting an album of nu jazz songs – combining elements of funk, soul and jazz, while quite obviously retaining Lawrence Arabia’s indie-pop influence. Their debut album is a mixed bag, each song exploring a different path. The most obvious reference is British downtempo DJ Mr Scruff, courtesy of Fabulous’ wonderfully unusual instrumental experimentation. Their debut album Unlimited Buffet can be downloaded from Bandcamp.

NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
BendikIgjen
Bendik is a lush, ambient electro-pop band signed to the great Trondheim-based label Riot Factory alongside the likes of Scarlet Chives, Dråpe, Angelica’s Elegy and Pelbo. It started as Silje Halstensen’s solo project but has now grown into a trio. They have played at some of the biggest festivals throughout Norway, such as Øyafestivalen, Pstereo and Slottsfjell, and their debut album will be released next year.

PERU: SoTB
Division MaydayLugar Seguro
Division Mayday formed in 2008 and their sound ranges from post-punk to electro-pop. A mix of electronic guitars, intimate lyrics, an intense rhythmic base and electronic sequences are the raw materials of their musical proposal.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Rose BlanketFeel My Way Around
Nothing Ahead Nothing Behind is the third album from Miguel Dias’ project Rose Blanket, recorded between 2008 and 2011. For this double album, he collaborated with several Portuguese musicians and two American vocalists, Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields) and Dana Schechter (Bee And Flower). Feel My Way Around features Jennifer Charles.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
East Roots S.O.S.
East Roots is not a conventional dub/reggae band. As the cardinal points, each member comes with a new direction: drum ‘n’ bass, reggae, ska, dancehall and even trip-hop, you will find it all in their music.

RUSSIA: Big Echo
ValotihkuuTwo Shadows
Valotihkuu’s Flutter EP is made up of 15 tracks which collect memories and emotions of a full year, filled up with nostalgia, old vibes, cassette tapes, weird samples and a unique feel that might remind you of Madlib and Monster Rally.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
King Creosote & Jon HopkinsBats In The Attic (Unravelled)
Rarely has the word “timeless” been more appropriate for a record. It took seven years for King Creosote and Jon Hopkins to make their first collaborative album, the Mercury Prize-nominated Diamond Mine, and it handsomely captures delicate snapshots of unhurried, everyday life in rural Fife – literally, with the sound of coffee shop chatter, running streams and chirping seagulls. Here’s an exclusive free MAP download of their reworking of album track Bats In The Attic, taken from their Honest Words EP.

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
MagusRiders On Psychedelics
Magus is a new collaboration between Mark Dolmont and Leslie Low, the latter best known for his work with Humpback Oak and The Observatory. Their debut effort is fittingly the first release by Ujikaji Records, a new independent label and distro focusing on experimental music in the region. The album, titled Sun Worshipper, presents a dark and spiritual brew of kraut-inspired psychedelia which makes for an addictively harrowing pilgrimage through the deepest of valleys.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Laurie LevineSix Winters
Six Winters is the lovely first single and title track of the third album by acclaimed Johannesburg singer-songwriter Laurie Levine. Piano and acoustic-driven, twinkling and atmospheric with an electric tinge, it all makes Laurie’s heady blend of folk coupled with her captivating vocals one that has earned her critical acclaim and a growing audience.

SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
CoedwigLet Her Go
Street folk artist Neofolk has gotten himself a band member and formed the unit Coedwig. Let Her Go is one of the indie rock numbers on the recently self-released first EP, which also contains a couple of acoustic tracks – a sound that is very popular in Korea at the moment.

SPAIN: Musikorner
LasersSolar System
Lasers are a cosmic pop three-piece from Barcelona. Influenced by acts such as Animal Collective, Fuck Buttons, locals Delorean and label mates The Suicide Of Western Culture (featured in September’s MAP), Lasers have learnt to create extraterrestrial atmospheres using “samples, tireless cyclic sounds, breeze melodies” in their music, which can be both obscure and optimistic at a time or, as they call it, “noise and poetry”. Lasers will release their first album Juno through Irregular in December, from which Solar System is taken.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Halina LarssonPuget Sounds
Halina Larsson is an expat from Sweden who has lived in LA and now resides in Brooklyn. She has a diverse sound and a variety of influences including Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Feist and Elliott Smith. Halina is a trained jazz vocalist who, on her latest Fires & French Horns EP, falls somewhere between indie folk songstress and new soul chanteuse. It’s an odd combination but on certain songs and in certain styles she can pull it off.

SWITZERLAND: 78s
laFayetteHeavy Rain (feat. Lena Fennel)
Since their launch in 2009, Basel boys Jascha Dormann and Simon Hauswirth have found their place in the Swiss electronica scene. Musically, laFayette boldly go into the deep end of a pool filled with electronica, hip hop and techno music. Their debut EP Sputnik was released in September.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
SaskatchewanSkinny Dipping
Orlando, Florida’s Saskatchewan are masters of slow-built dream pop, lush vocal harmonies and melodies that are damn near impossible to ignore. Skinny Dipping is their latest single, available for free on Bandcamp. Look out for an album sometime in early 2012.

VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Carlos AngolaHasta Mañana
I first saw Carlos Angola at a festival called VirgenFest which was being held in a public square. The atmosphere was magical, it felt like Woodstock. On stage there was this boy with glasses, an acoustic guitar and a great voice. Carlos Angola used to be part of a ska band called Skabiosis, but now he is displaying his talents as a solo artist with his album Rompecabezas which guarantees total relaxation no matter when you listen to it.

Vit Päls video for “Loving You Was Crazy Shit”

October 28th, 2011

Loving this Vit Päls video for the song “Loving You Was Crazy Shit”

Halina Larsson – “Fire and French Horns” ep

October 27th, 2011

Halina Larsson is an ex-pat from Sweden who has lived in LA and now resides in Brooklyn. She’s got a diverse sound and a variety of influences including Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Feist and Elliot Smith. Halina a trained jazz vocalist who on this ep falls somewhere between indie folk songstress and new soul chanteuse. It’s an odd combination but on certain songs and in certain styles she can pull it off. Here’s “Puget Sounds” from the new ep Fire and French Horns.

More info or to buy the record here.

Puget Sounds

October MAP

October 19th, 2011

A day later and a krona short but here is the October edition of MAP (Music Alliance Pact)

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a .zip file of the whole 34-track compilation via MediaFire.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Flopa/MinimalAtolondrón
A couple of months ago, the indie supergroup formed by Flopa Lestani, Mariano “Manza” Esaín and Ariel Minimal reunited for several sold-out concerts in Buenos Aires. The experience was so positive that Flopa and Minimal decided to step into the studio to record some songs, and the result is an EP called Reducción de Daños. Atolondrón was written by Flopa and is our favorite track from it, but you can download the whole EP for free from their website.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Option CommandBreak Even
Option Command (who has previously released gorgeous music under the name Broken Chip) hails from the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. Where his former project often focused on texture and mood, Option Command is a more beat-oriented project. Break Even sounds like playing Atari in a canyon, and is a good blend of the two musical personas. Both are worth checking out.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
LirinhaAdebayor
Jose de Paes Lira, best known as Lirinha, is the former vocalist of Brazilian group Cordel do Fogo Encantado, who have produced some of the most consistent works in terms of updating regional sounds from Brazil’s northeast. In Lirinha’s first solo album, the results are somewhere between alternative rock and a new take on mangue beat. His excellent CD is available for free download at his website.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Sound Of LionsEnders
Yes, Sound Of Lions borrow somewhat liberally from 90s trip-hop generally, and Portishead in particular. However, as Enders – and the rest of their debut, 11:44 – demonstrates, they’re so good at making the old genre sound fresh and new, it’s easy to overlook a little thievery when the end results are so incredibly listenable.

CHILE: Super 45
NuevacostaTodo Fácil
Four-piece outfit Nuevacosta released their debut offering, Costa Brava EP (available for free at their website) this year under the Casa Joven and Espacio Cellar labels. Through these six songs, the band explores new wave sounds and early 90s Chilean pop, creating dark, lo-fi, atmospheric soundscapes.

CHINA: Wooozy
Eat Alien’s BrainSick Body Dance
Eat Alien’s Brain are an electro duo from Chengdu, who formed in August 2010. Loco and Umar, both in their early 20s, use music to express their attitude towards freedom. Their sound is hard to define – electro/dance with a bit of Nintendocore/chiptune/crunk. They were highly recommended by the NME, who described them as “Crystal Castle bound up with Burial and Sepultura”.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Laura DrescherI Do I Will
I can’t really tell you much about Laura Drescher other than she was born in Spain, raised in Denmark, and that she released both an EP (Polyest) and an album (Hallucinations Of A Good Life) last year. Oh, and she’s not sore on the eyes either. It’s gloomy and groovy electronica – here represented by I Do I Will from Hallucinations Of A Good Life – and if you like what you hear, head for SoundCloud where you can download both album and EP for free.

ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
DaleySmoking Gun
A new blue-eyed soul boy from Manchester, Gareth “Daley” Daley looks set to be the first genuinely interesting British artist to operate in that area since David McAlmont or Lewis Taylor. He was a nominee on this year’s BBC Sound of 2011 poll, has already tasted chart success, having sung on Long Way Home from Wretch 32′s top-5 debut album as well as on the Gorillaz track Doncamatic, which he co-wrote with Damon Albarn. Now he’s signed to A&M and working on his own debut album, due out in 2012, with Suede guitarist and Duffy producer Bernard Butler as well as Dre of Dre & Vidal (Alicia Keys, Usher) and Shea Taylor (Ne-Yo, Beyoncé).

FINLAND: Glue
Koria Kitten RiotAn Anthem From The 80′s
Koria Kitten Riot is the project of singer-songwriter Antti Reikko and it brings well-crafted pop songs, full of detail and ambitious instrumentation. It puts together the intimacy of the songwriter and grandiose arrangements in a manner that reminds us of Bright Eyes. An Anthem From The 80′s is a melancholic song about long-gone happy times and is taken from Koria Kitten Riot’s second album, The Lows & The Highs, out this month.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
BOYThis Is The Beginning
BOY are a little hyped in Germany right now. Valeska and Sonja just released their debut Mutual Friends via Groenland Records, which features warm and cosy folk-pop songs. They are written and sung so well that you instantly forget summer was awful this year and start enjoying the Indian summer.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
The You And What Army FactionI Used A Blade To Carve Me A New Smile
The You And What Army Faction set their distortion pedals on stun and amplify each strummed string to produce a crushing, absorbing and raw wall-of-sound repetition where chaos and beauty ravish each other within the same song. Their artful contrasts and angular arrangements are imbued with instrumental dexterity and coherent ideas and balanced between formlessness and structure, melody and cacophony. Here’s a vibrating preview from their upcoming sophomore album.

ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
RuddinnCover The Distance
Ruddinn is one guy, Bertel Ólafsson from Hafnarfjörður, who has released three albums to date. Ruddinn works primarily alone but receives a helping hand occasionally. He mixes electro pop with indie guitar and a dash of 80s shoegaze. Cover The Distance, a track from his third album I Need A Vacation, features Heiða Eiríksdóttir of the band Hellvar on vocals.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
BRNDLSStart Bleeding
BRNDLS have helped shape today’s Indonesian garage rock scene with their harsh sound, raw attitude and foul-mouthed frontman. Also known as The Brandals, they have just brought out their latest album that stole the XTRMNTR concept and delivered their most well-produced release to date.

IRELAND: Nialler9
TieranniesaurIn The Sargasso
Strutting disco-infused funky indie tunes that recall the experimental new wave pop visions of ESG and Tom Tom Club don’t come by every day. So Tieranniesaur standout. This Irish six-piece revel in fun, old-school danceable thrills and their self-titled debut album is one of the best releases Ireland has to offer this year.

ITALY: Polaroid
A Classic EducationForever Boy
Produced by Jarvis Taveniere of Woods, Call It Blazing is undoubtedly the most eagerly-awaited indie rock album in Italy this year, but not only in Italy. A Classic Education have released two EPs and a single, traveled the US, Canada and UK, played SXSW and CMJ, and are touring Europe with British Sea Power right now. They are definitely one of the best things to have happened to the music in my country in the past decade. Their sound is magnificent, warm, ambitious and timeless.

JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Canopies And DrapesSleeping Under The Bed
Sleeping Under The Bed twinkles from the get-go, Tokyo solo artist Canopies And Drapes setting up a glowing dream of a song about hearts melting like ice cream and perfect lovers. Yet this, the highlight off her debut EP, conceals some darkness around the corners. The minimalist structure allows for some chilly synths to stand out, and then she steps back from all the gooey love talk for a frank final line: “Where should I go? I got lost.” It sounds gorgeous from the start, but grows more complicated with time.

MALTA: Stagedive Malta
BeangrowersThe Priest
Beangrowers are a rare and delicate breed of band – managing to be intelligent without being ponderous, fun without being silly, outrageously poppy without being cheesy, and rocking without being clichéd or predictable. This female-fronted three-piece are Malta’s biggest music exports, with a following on both sides of the Atlantic. This track is from their album Dance Dance Baby, which has just been re-released digitally.

MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
RobotaTroqueladora
Dystopian scenarios are inherent to industrial music, with narratives and textures well explored by artists on the Mute roster – from Throbbing Gristle and The Normal, to Suicide and Add (N) to X. Mexico City trio Robota particularly share Add (N) to X’s aesthetic based on a vintage electronic junk sado-fetishism. Troqueladora is taken from their “vibrant” second album, Vulgar Display Of Power. No, there’s no relation with Pantera other than pure cyber-punk irony.

NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Chris KokSounds Of Sirens
Since studying ‘pop’ at the Amsterdam Conservatory, Chris Kok has spent the past couple of years working on songcraft and stepping out to play live at every opportunity – be it contests, open mic nights, festivals or art openings – all while freely distributing his music online. The graft seems to be paying off, and now working with a full band, even his most intimate acoustic troubadour pieces are taking epic turns. Sounds Of Sirens is the kind of atmospheric pop Snow Patrol should be making, and that’s merely one template from his sonic arsenal. Look out for a full album from Kok and his band Civil Union later this year, plus listen to his new self-titled acoustic EP (including a version of Sounds Of Sirens) on Bandcamp.

NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
St. RupertsbergIn Albania
Wellington octet St Rupertsberg began in 2009 when Kate Whelen assembled a group of female musicians to start a rather unique band. Now, after gaining rave reviews from critics and audience members at this year’s Campus A Low Hum festival, word of the group’s musical prowess has spread. Performing together like a multi-talented musical circus, the band members take turns playing various instruments, including trumpets, clarinets, trombones, synthesisers and percussion. But the main highlight is an all-inclusive vocal chorus. Their debut EP is available now from Bandcamp.

NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
AutonomiaSteiner Å Stå På
Autonomia are a great and hidden gem from the large underground of Norwegian music, with members from veteran bands such as Freeshine, Dunderhonning and Far From Tellus. Singing in Norwegian, their music is eclectic and it can shift from sweet and rough indie-pop with Hüsker Dü guitars to long, slow and heavy post-rock/post-hardcore anthems reminiscent of bands like Envy and Neurosis.

PERU: SoTB
RoyalvaletEscorpio y Rimel
Royalvalet is a project formed by musicians who had their beginnings in other bands. When it comes to composing a song, each member gives his contribution with full freedom, there are no creative limitations. Led by Salim Vera, Royalvalet began in March 2010 and have released three highly creative rock singles to date.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
The Klinton KingsRulin’
The Klinton Kings is the project of Lewis M, a recent graduate of Oporto College of Arts and Music. He has just a few songs available online. However, his most promising single, Rulin’, which was recently available on a CD of new Portuguese acts, transmits a maturity and creativity rarely heard in most first singles. A debut album is expected in 2012.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Moonlight BreakfastStill
Self-characterized as a retro electro band, Moonlight Breakfast is one of the freshest presences on the Romanian alternative music stage. In only a couple of months after getting together for this project, they reached the top position in Romania’s alternative radio charts.

RUSSIA: Big Echo
InWhiteSea
One of the cutest Russian indie-pop bands, InWhite is looking forward to their upcoming album. Sea is a beautiful piano-driven song that can carry you away from a seaside to the storm.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Panda SuI Begin
The title track of Panda Su’s second EP illustrates her appeal: dark, intelligent pop with all sense of vulnerability left intact. Apart from her occasional on-stage face paint, the Panda Su package is never black and white. Her music often draws on experimental sounds, but never at the expense of melody. Her lyrics, both fragile and cryptic, demand attention – I Begin finds Su repeating the poignant lines, “I should try to remember/I should try to forget”. It’s apt that Su Shaw named the outlet for her music after an endangered creature – songs of this quality really are rather rare.

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
EtcBig Girl’s Blouse
Etc is truly one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets. There are no fancy fashions or trends associated with the duo of Ben Harrison and Harvey Chamberlain, just well-written guitar-rock to a steady beat. Harrison’s jangle-raggedy guitar work is exciting and tasteful enough to balance perfectly atop Chamberlain’s near-primal approach to the beat, yet also easy enough for that slacker sway. They have an album in the works, but we’ll make do with their generous online singles in the meantime.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
140Say It Better
Meet your new favourite power-pop, tongue-in-cheek, somewhat satirical band. Meet 140. They recently released their debut single Say It Better, a synth-drenched pop song. But not to be stereotyped or confined, the band’s next single could range from indie-rock to anything they feel their listeners would like. With a unique, zany and out-there approach, 140 is band whose mantra is to do things differently. In fact, it’s experimentation that will keep everyone engaged and interested in this provoking new set of creatives.

SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Mighty CoalaSeoul
Indie-pop band Mighty Coala has been around for many years, but it wasn’t until this month that their first album For Bright And Healthy Mornings, mixed by Yeol Park of August MAP band Pigibit5, was released. With a preference for short songs that are both fun to play and listen to, Mighty Coala offer a rich sound with plenty of curiosities. Seoul is an uplifting tune dedicated to the city where they live and the city they love.

SPAIN: Musikorner
Las TocayasHombres
Las Tocayas, despite their name, are not an all-girl band; they’re actually two girls and a boy who met through an internet forum dedicated to Spanish indie band Los Planetas. If we said that their influences include The Flaming Lips, Surfin’ Bichos, Nacho Vegas and The National, you wouldn’t believe us, but, yes, we mean it. Their music can be described as hedonistic and their lyrics are rather irreverent and joyful. Maybe, as they confess, they’re more inspired by everyday life, television, their gossiping neighbours and Jon Secada. Hombres is a hilarious ode to men and what we can and cannot expect from them.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Poor LifestyleThese Times
Hardcore and punk should be immediate and Poor Lifestyle certainly is. You may argue that this song is breaking no new ground and I’d say you’re right – that’s the beauty of it. This song will be coming out in Sweden on a split 7″ with friends The Wallrides sometime soon.

SWITZERLAND: 78s
Evelinn TroubleI’m On Fire
Evelinn Trouble has, in her still very young career, gone through some major changes. The Zurich resident started off as an 18-year-old releasing a very intimate singer-songwriter record, alone in her bedroom. She was soon discovered and heartened by the Swiss indie scene and last month brought out her sophomore record Television Religion, which presents her as a ‘femme fatale’. It’s great pleasure seeing her grow.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Young ManEnough
The compositions of Colin Caulfield, playing under the moniker Young Man, have come full circle on his latest LP titled Ideas Of Distance. An achingly beautiful album with more layers than an Arctic explorer, Enough is a track that boils up slowly like water left on the stove. Except each rising bubble is a different sonic explosion and instead of bursting on the surface in watery, translucent explosion, you can see the melodic colors dispersing in swirls of steam.

VENEZUELA: Música y Más
LimpiacabezalesMérida
Limpiacabezales was formed in 1998 by Claudio Sanchez, Orlando Toro and Carlos Eljuri. After a few shows in several cities across Venezuela, they released their first EP this year, which features five songs that serve as a teaser for their album, expected to come out later this year.

New music from Johan Hliom (aka Johan Hillblom)

October 18th, 2011

I really loved the songs I heard from Johan Hillblom a year ago. And I know a lot of you did as well as the post I wrote on his music is one of the most popular on the site. Well Johan is back, sort of. He has changed his name to Johan Hliom. And he has changed his music as well from simple cheery indie pop to challenging, multilayered, and somewhat darker pop.

So while there are many changes one thing that hasn’t changed is Johan’s voice. It is strong and subtle on these two new songs. His voice reveals much in these songs as it rises and dips and thins and thickens with the emotions contained within.

Johan has sent me two songs he’s been working on and I will simply be his conduit and pass them on to you. Enjoy.

Finally. Thank you.
Colognel

Bonus songs from a year ago (taken together you have one of the best 4 song eps of the year):

Sneak Preview
Left Me To Wake

Songs We Heard In Ilomilo – Video game music from Mattias Häggström Gerdt and Carl Karjalainen

October 14th, 2011

Apparently there is a cute little video game called Ilomilo that is all the rage. On top of that apparently there is a soundtrack to the video game that is also all the rage. Well now here comes the remix and/or music inspired by the game soundtrack. It features two Swedish video game music makers in Mattias Häggström Gerdt and Carl Karjalainen. This is no the usual blip pop of the 8 bit variety but instead it slower more organic and simpler music.

The record is called Songs We Heard In Ilomilo.

Cozy Sofa by Mattias Häggström Gerdt

Jelly Moonlight by Carl Karjalainen

Trailer for the game:

Indie folk from Gothenburg’s Claes Strängberg – “Tomorrow Dear” (riyl Sufjan Stevens, Antony)

September 29th, 2011

Here’s a little indie folk a la Sufjan Stevens courtesy of Gothenburg’s Claes Strängberg.

Tomorrow Dear

Hardcore punk from Sweden’s “Poor Lifestyle”

September 26th, 2011

I went through all my emails and links and bandcamp and soundcloud files and this is the only thing with any energy and any sense of being real that I could post today. Hardcore and punk should be immediate and Poor Lifestyle certainly is. You may argue that this song is breaking no new ground and I’d say you’re right – that’s the beauty of it.

This song will be coming out in Sweden on a split 7″ with friends the Wallrides sometime soon.

These Times

Bonus track from Sweden’s The Wallrides new EP

Monthly mix of music from around the world – MAP Sept. Edition

September 15th, 2011

To download all 35 songs in one file click here

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Hernán Martínez y Las EstrellasRevolución En Verano
Hernán Martínez was the man behind Voltura, a magnificent but rather unkown indie-pop band from Buenos Aires’s underground music scene (they only recorded two EPs, which are free to download from here and here). Revolución De Verano is Martínez’s first solo album, released by Perinola Discos and recorded with his band Las Estrellas. As with previous EPs by Martinez and Voltura, his songs are both catchy and melancholic. Revolución En Verano is the first single from the album.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Royal HeadacheDown The Lane
After a couple of years of drip-feeding 7″, CD-R and cassette releases, the time has arrived for the release of Royal Headache’s debut album. Down The Lane is a great introduction to Royal Headache and shows exactly why people are so excited about them.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
4instrumentalNão Mais
4instrumental is a band whose sound is influenced by the history of Sabará, a city founded 400 years ago, while permeated by that kind of constant search for renewal typical of rock and roll. They’re prog rockers, but also funky, jazzy and experimental, as you can hear in Não Mais, from their first EP, released two months ago. The quartet are activists of a way of life that believes culture is a means of social transformation. They travel through the country expanding this idea while making people feel some catharsis with their instrumental music.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Zoo LegacyShockwave
Is it hip-hop? Rock? R&B? I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that Zoo Legacy create music that’s a genre-bending mish-mash, and they do it extremely well.

CHILE: Super 45
FakutaAeropuerto
Fakuta is one of the best bets in the current Chilean musical scene. Behind that moniker, architect Pamela Sepúlveda builds introspective synth-pop songs filled with detailed soundscapes and warm textures. Aeropuerto (“Airport”) is the second single from her debut album Al Vuelo, available for free at her website.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Siamese Fighting FishA Liar Cried Wolf
In early 2011, alternative metal six-piece Siamese Fighting Fish released their grand debut album We Are The Sound, which this site’s metalhead, Thomas Brunstrøm, suggested you check out if you’d like to know “what it would sound like if Muse, System Of A Down and Incubus went on stage in a metal club in Sarajevo and tried to out-weird each other. Featuring a guy playing the violin.” At the end of August, the gang released epic new single A Liar Cried Wolf, which is a MAP download exclusive.

ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Spotlight KidHaunting Me
Twenty years ago, there was grunge, and there was shoegazing, and that was pretty much it for the alternative rock scene. Spotlight Kid wonderfully evoke that era when My Bloody Valentine meant more than the Beatles and the Stones combined, and every young band was in thrall to the sound of MBV’s Isn’t Anything album and wanted to be signed to Creation – that is, Creation B.O. (Before Oasis), when it was all radiant guitars and ethereal, billowing, androgynous boy/girl harmonies. Spotlight Kid don’t come from the Thames Valley like their forebears (they’re from Nottingham) but everything else about them screams – or rather, sighs and shimmers – shoegaze.

ESTONIA: Popop
Taavi Peterson & ÜdiTibet Ocean
Singer Taavi Peterson got his first taste of fame in 2007 from the first series of the Estonian version of Pop Idol, coming third, but he decided to turn his back on the shiny pop world. The band Üdi (“bone marrow”) was formed in 2008 and their plan is to keep their hearts in the 60s but minds in the present day and make helluva good music. Is it possible for one band to change something? That’s what they are trying to find out.

FINLAND: Glue
The New TigersPocketful Of Sand
From the west coast of Finland, The New Tigers are a guitar-driven pop band that might remind you of Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth or Galaxie 500. On their debut album, The New Tigers show an austere sound straight from the rehearsal room with no unnecessary embellishments. Loud guitars are all over the album and extend the songs with some good jams, but the band never forgets to include a good pop melody.

FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
PendentifRiviera
These days you see “pop” in every review you read and, over time, it even had bad connotations, as if it was the simplest music you can create. In fact, we forgot we could be surprised by it, and Pendentif are here to remind us of how great pop is, not by reinventing it, but by offering highly enjoyable pop songs, using the best the genre has to offer. Signed to the same label as previous MAP band Young Michelin, Bulle Sonore Records, they are just as great and sing in French as well.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
Dear ReaderMONKEY (You Can Go Home)
Dear Reader’s debut was subtle in a folky way; the second album, Idealistic Animals, continues this promising cachet in a more janiform way. South African Cherilyn Macneil decided after some soul-searching about conscience and religion that she needed a change and now lives in Berlin, continuing Dear Reader as a solo project. Although her lyrics are very intense and profound, the music seems breezy and effortless, which makes a great and lasting combination.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
Your Hand In MineA Boy And The Birds
Your Hand In Mine present a deeply personal sense of chamber music and an emotive, atmospheric dreamworld through intricate arrangements, waltzing rhythms, fluttering accordions, mandolins, delicate glockenspiels, woozy laments and beautiful, melancholic melodies that conjure a cinematic romanticism. Their second album, The Garden Novels, is a testament to the versatility and adventurousness of their sound, where nine sonic novels, nine small stories told in a fictional garden, are transcribed into warm and intimate musical notes.

ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
SamarisHljóma Þú
Samaris consist of singer Jófríður Ákadóttir, computer programmer Þórður Kári Steinþórsson and clarinet player Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir, three students from Reykjavík aged 17-18 who came together in January 2011. The trio plays a mixture of trip-hop, dubstep and downtempo beats. This year they won the Icelandic battle-of-the-bands competition Músíktilraunir. Hljóma Þú is the title track of their first EP.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
JirapahCrime
Jirapah duo Ken Jenie and Mar Galo are lovers, both Indonesian students who stayed in Brooklyn. But Ken is currently living in Jakarta, partly because of the good reception their music has received in the capital’s indie scene, where he has started playing live with several other musicians. Their music can be described as something dreamy, layered and lo-fi.

IRELAND: Nialler9
AlarmistGiraffe Centre
Intricate melodies intertwine and search for ears in Dublin band Alarmist’s Giraffe Centre, taken from their brilliant self-titled five-track EP. Like Tortoise and Battles, this band are all about turbo-charged but beautiful instrumentation.

ITALY: Polaroid
Three In One Gentleman SuitGreen Riots
Pure is the fourth album by Three In One Gentleman Suit, a band that keeps getting better and better. Moving from post-rock and math beginnings, TIOGS developed their own style – a kind of Modest Mouse epicness with more synth and samples, and with an incredibly strong live impact. You can download Pure for free from the band’s website.

JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Miila And The GeeksNew Age
Miila And The Geeks grab familiar elements of rock music and contort them into slightly disturbing shapes. New Age, the title track to their recently released debut, uses simple repetition and jittery drumming to turn what could have been a by-the-numbers garage rock song into a captivating, no-wave-inspired number. Yet it is the saxophone popping up at various moments, seemingly blessed with a mind of its own, which really cements New Age as a fascinating listen.

MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Hunters PalaceTal-Metall
Hunters Palace was initially an indie-folk outfit with a tendency to lay on some psychedelic improvisational grooves, but has recently evolved into a power trio playing abrasive free rock. Its core membership has always comprised two people, Peter Sant and Alex Vella Gera, but over the years others have contributed to the band’s sound including Adolf Formosa and Vinicius Duarte. The track on offer, Tal-Metall, is a krautrock-ish assault meaning to be a dance anthem.

MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Juan CirerolCorrido Chicalor
Storytelling and improvisation are two qualities rarely seen among musicians nowadays, since abstract compositions and studio over-productions rule the landscape. Enter Juan Cirerol, a twenty-something guitar-yielding cantina troubadour from the desertic Mexico-U.S. frontier city of Mexicali, all-stereotyped with pointy boots, worn-out cowboy shirt and a Johnny Cash square-jawed grin. With a carefree, nomadic take on the music business, Juan is kind of an outlaw riding a black horse into the shy, dusty streets of the Mexican indie scene. Nobody saw him coming and now everybody is talking about this charming youngster. If you feel attracted to this stranger, download his debut from the Vale Vergas Discos site.

NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
housesWalk Away
This young Amsterdam-based quintet share in an unashamed love of North American indie guitar pop, spending the past decade absorbing the melodies and atmospherics of bands like Death Cab For Cutie, Stars and Broken Social Scene. It’s most noticeable in how their guitarist and keyboardist duel over shimmering riffs, while their choruses naturally soar as Ella van der Woude’s sweet and airy Feist-esque voice is lifted by the urgency of the rhythm section. Following plenty of local gigging and a self-released EP in 2010 that perked up the ears of local radio, their debut album Clean Life is released on September 19.

NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Jon LemmonExodus I
When asked to make a summery pop song for a compilation, US-born New Zealand-based artist Jon Lemmon set about writing a tune about the end of the world. Exodus I is a lush and enigmatic opus, boasting everything from honky-tonk piano to squelchy synth bass and an incredibly catchy wordless vocal singalong in the chorus. Lemmon shows his breakout potential with this huge song from his forthcoming album that he’s aiming to release by the end of October.

NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Mikhael PaskalevI Spy
Mikhael Paskalev is an astonishing young talent from deep within the fjords of Norway. He makes joyful folk pop that sometimes resembles Port O’Brien, Slow Club and other indie folk acts, yet also with a certain regard for the old ones, like The Everly Brothers. We can’t wait for his debut album due out next year.

PERU: SoTB
MoldesTrés Malade
Among the noise, psychedelia and experimentation, Moldes, a quartet formed by two boys and two girls in 2008, released their first album in August 2010 to good reviews. Trés Malade is a song that comes from a French poem written by Katia De la Cruz.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
IconoclastsStranger In A Strange Land
Iconoclasts first appeared on MAP in 2009 and they keep on rocking. At last, the band’s debut album, Mt. Erikson, is released this month. Stranger In A Strange Land shows just why they are one of the most promising acts from Lisbon. Pump up the volume.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
We Singing ColorsThere When You Sleep
We Singing Colors is the side project of Andrei Hațegan from indie band The Amsterdams. The boy/girl vocals, the exploration of simple sounds and everyday noise, and the melodic themes approached from a different angle create a very intimate pop atmosphere.

RUSSIA: Big Echo
Synecdoche MontaukInfinitely Many Primes
Summer is almost gone and now it’s time for calm and beautiful melodies, so I guess Infinitely Many Primes suits the weather perfectly. Acoustic guitar, violin and abstract lyrics create a complicated mood that mixes calmness, nervous, sweetness and melancholy. Synecdoche Montauk say their album is nearly finished so hopefully it will be available before the end of the year.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Pearl And The PuppetsLittle Diamonds
We join Pearl And The Puppets at a career crossroads, with Katie Sutherland having split from her record label this summer before she had the chance to release a debut album. While the Glasgow-based singer is better known for her radio-pleasing acoustic pop, Little Diamonds takes an altogether more refined approach, with Katie whispering her lyrics over gentle piano notes and subtle string work. The best is yet to come from this lass.

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Hanging Up The MoonWater Under The Bridge
Hanging Up The Moon is the self-titled debut album and solo project of Sean Lam, best known for fronting Singaporean band Concave Scream. After an extended hiatus, Sean’s return to songwriting has been welcomed by many, especially for his minimalist and introspective approach. The songs in this album, which you can pay as you wish for at his website, were birthed in the stillness of the night before dawn breaks. You can just imagine the quiet corner where these carefully-crafted songs were committed to recording, without a squeak or whimper; and when each track is done, only a still air lingering.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
EJ Von Lyrik, Isaac Mutant and TebaGoldmine (Shockwave Edit)
The sounds of funky Cape Town hip-hop artists EJ Von Lyrik, Isaac Mutant and Teba shine through this month as they combine their talents on Goldmine (Shockwave Edit). Each artist brings their own unique South African feel and musical style which reflects the melting pot that is Cape Town. It’s fun, fresh and has a funky feel that is sure to get heads nodding and feet tapping.

SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
NinesinArena
Although competition is tough, Ninesin is one of the best hardcore acts Korea has to offer. Following the remarkable The Death, We Will Face from 2009, their second full-length album comes out this month. Arena is the first track revealed from the self-titled release. It has a shotgun beat and shows Ninesin’s characteristic grasp of good melody.

SPAIN: Musikorner
The Suicide Of Western CultureThe Italian Chapel
The Suicide Of Western Culture have become one of the most successful Spanish electronic bands. They have, so far, supported Animal Collective in their last visit to Barcelona and played at the most important festivals in Spain and even in Berlin’s Popkomm. With a post-rock soul, as epic and ethereal as Explosions In The Sky but as intimate as Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, they have released an eponymous album filled with their thoughts and emotions; the final result is a highly visceral and passionate record.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
VampyramidenPyromanens Dotter
Vampyramiden are still serving up strangely appealing Swedish-language indie pop. The band’s new EP (which has a fantastic cover) is called Teenage Destiny and I can only guess the lyrics are some sort of combination of teenage angst, wizarding mythology and, of course, vampires.

SWITZERLAND: 78s
San MarinoStrangers To Ourselves
Since there’s no music blog representing San Marino, we came across a nice substitute in the form of a Swiss band pleading the country’s music case. San Marino hail from Zurich and represent not only the small country in the heart of Italy, but do so as well for Switzerland’s surf-indie-pop conscience. Their debut album was released in May.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
THE-DRUMOmar
Much like their Chicago brethren Supreme Cuts and How To Dress Well, THE-DRUM are catalysts for precognitive future-music, hybridizing molasses-slow R&B vocals against shockwaves of percussion and echoing synth melodies. The results are as vibrant and unique as they are compelling, and Omar, released just two weeks ago, is perhaps their best experiment yet.

VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Los ExpresidentesTe Rodeo En El Rodeo
It is impossible to listen to this band and not think of a film about the Old West and imagine American cowboys on their horses. Los Expresidentes make an interesting, enjoyable fusion of punk rock, country and rockabilly. Their debut album, Lanzados Al Rodeo, has fun lyrics and a really contagious rhythm.

Dreamy shoegaze from Stockholm’s Teenhäze

September 14th, 2011

The one man Stockholm based band Teenhäze has a three song ep that has just been released; a full album is in the can and ready to be released should a label sign him. Labels – SIGN HIM! I’d like to hear more from this artist whose distorted shoegaze is both dreamy and occasionally terrifying.

Here’s the song “Sea You” from the EP of the same name.

Sea You

Zion Space Station – “Orbital-minded”

September 13th, 2011

More electronica, this time of the space age variety; trippy and interstellar. What begins with a muted Miles Davis solo quickly becomes a diaspora of synthy beats, weird samples, and otherworldly chants.

Here’s “The Icarus Vessel” from the album Orbital Minded by Zion Space Station.

The Icarus Vessel

Midnight Disco from Mutantswing

September 12th, 2011

Summer’s over and everyone’s back to school and back to work. So while Swedesplease has been a little quiet I hope that will end now. Let’s start it with some twisted electronica from Mutantswing. This is from their new 6 song EP called Midnight Disco.

Disco Boot

New ep – “Tape #2″ from Swedish folkie John Hawks

August 26th, 2011

John Hawks is back with Tape #2. And that’s not a hipster reference to cassette tapes; this is actually a tape with hiss and a bit of flutter.

A Bible In The Thorns

P.S. Swedesplease was mention in this CNN article yesterday. But the article didn’t have the balls to mention I don’t really write about any of the mainstream artists they mentioned and they didn’t have the balls to step out on a limb and mention a deserving underachiever like John Hawks or any of the bands I write about on a daily basis…

Still it’s CNN ;)

New indie pop from Vampyramiden

August 25th, 2011

It’s been over a year since I wrote about the band Vampyramiden (here). And they’re still serving up strangely appealing Swedish language indie pop. And what a great EP cover.

The new ep is called Teenage Destiny and I can only guess the lyrics are some combination of teenage angst, wizarding mythology, and of course vampires.

Pyromanens Dotter